Inside a Gaza Hospital as Israeli Military Attacks Escalate: 200 Air Strikes
Salem Waqef (Photo: Lydia De Leeuw)
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The Israeli attacks across the Gaza Strip have entered their third day. We write this report amid the sounds of incessant bombings, which have continued all day yesterday and throughout the night.
The military escalation carried out by the Israeli Army continues all over the Gaza Strip. From Gaza City, we hear incessant noise of drones and F-16 fighter jets crashing through the sky above our heads. Bombs repeatedly fall in our surroundings, in densely populated civilians areas. At this point, Israeli air forces have conducted nearly 200 airstrikes, bringing the death toll to 19. Among the casualties are ten civilians, including six children and one woman. More than 180 people have been injured by the attacks, the vast majority civilians. The areas targeted included Beit Hanoun, Jabalia refugee camp, Sheikh Radwan and al-Nasser neighbourhoods in Gaza City, Maghazi, Deir El Balah, Khan Younis, and the tunnel area in Rafah.
Yesterday we visited Al Shifa hospital, where most of the injured are brought to. There we spoke with doctors, patients, their relatives, and witnesses about what they are going through in the current escalation in the Gaza Strip. We wish to share some of the stories of the people we met.
Salem Waqef, a 40 year old man, was severely injured when his home was destroyed in an attack during the early morning of 15 November. His doctors say Salem suffered a brain injury when he was deprived of oxygen. He was brought into the International Care Unit of Al Shifa hospital at 5am where he was placed on a ventilator. He remains in a coma and the doctors said he was in a serious condition.
At approximately 1.10pm, as we were leaving the ICU, a 10 month old girl, Haneen Tafesh, was brought into the ward. She was unconscious and her tiny body was grey. She had suffered a skull fracture and brain haemorrhage, which resulted from an attack that took place at around 11am yesterday in Gaza’s Sabra neighbourhood. She was in a coma and on mechanical ventilation. Later in the afternoon, we checked how Haneen was doing and doctors said her condition had deteriorated. After returning home in the evening, we learned that she had died.
Ahmed Durghmush is in his early twenties and was brought to Al Shifa ICU at around 9pm Wednesday night, 14 November, after he was injured by an airstrike carried out on the Tel al Hawa neighbourhood in Gaza City. He had suffered a severe brain trauma, caused by shrapnel from an explosion. Dr Fauzi Nablusia, a doctor in the ICU, explained that, when Ahmed arrived, some of his brain matter was protruding from his head wound. He suffered a brain haemorrhage and was operated on. When we asked doctors about Ahmed’s condition later today, they said it had deteriorated. A relative was standing over Ahmed’s bed, expressing his feelings of powerlessness and fear for Ahmed’s fate.
The emergency room was dealing with spikes in victim arrivals throughout the day. One of those brought in was 5 year old Basma Mahmoud el Tourouq from Rimal neighbourhood, Gaza City. She was injured in an airstrike near her home around 2.30pm today. The shockwave of the explosion threw her across her bedroom, causing her lower arm to be fractured as she fell on the floor.
We later listened to the stories of some of the injured children, women and men and their relatives who had been moved up to the different wards of Al Shifa hospital.
Mohammed Abu Amsha, a two and half year old boy, was injured while he was sitting in front of his grandfather’s house in Beit Hanoun. An F16 fired a missile nearby, and scattering rubble struck him in the head. As we were about to leave, Mohammed’s father mentioned that Mohammed’s uncle had also been injured.